2011 Canadian Comics Wrap Survey: Scott Chantler

Tell us about yourself – a brief bio/intro.

I’m the cartoonist of the graphic novels TWO GENERALS, NORTHWEST PASSAGE, and the THREE THIEVES series, and a commercial illustrator whose clients have included McDonald’s, Reebok, Macy’s, Rogers, The New York Daily News, The National Post, The Toronto Star, and Maclean’s. When I’m not doing either of those things, I teach Writing for Graphic Novels at Max the Mutt Animation School in Toronto.

What was your involvement in comics in 2011?

The second Three Thieves book, THE SIGN OF THE BLACK ROCK, and a softcover version of 2010’s TWO GENERALS were both released in September.

What was the highlight of the year for you re:

(a) comics publishing in general?

Making fun of DC’s reboot/relaunch/whatever-you-call-it.

(b) comics by Canadian creators?

Ray Fawkes’s ONE SOUL, which is a bold formal experiment but also elicits a surprising amount of emotion. We need more books like it; it’s full of fire and creativity and truth. I’m happy to see it making its way onto more year-end lists in the last week or two, because it seemed for a while there like it was going to be overlooked, which would make Hulk angry.

Was 2011 a good year for you?

VERY good. I worked like a dog from 2007 until the end of 2010, and told myself that this year I’d take it a little easier, and have done so for most part. I’ve been appearing at a lot more literary festivals, which are generally more laid-back affairs than the bustling craziness of comics conventions. I was nominated for an Eisner, the OLA White Pine Award for Non-Fiction, and Canada Reads. I won a Shuster Award (yay!) And an excerpt of TWO GENERALS was reprinted in READER’S DIGEST, which has exposed an incredibly large and diverse audience to my work. It’s been a year to beat, there’s no denying it.

Was 2011 a good year for comics?

I think that there was a handful of really great books, and a mountain of mediocre ones. So, basically, like any other year.

Part of being on the scene is exhibiting at public events. Which Canadian ones (if any) did you support in 2011 and how do you feel they went for you? Did you exhibit at any American events?

I was a guest at the Toronto Comic Arts Festival, Calgary Comic Expo, Fan Expo Canada, The Eden Mills Writers Festival, Word on the Street: Kitchener, WordFest, and also made a brief appearance at Comic-Con in San Diego. I also did numerous library and school appearances and store signings, as well as experimenting with new venues such as speaking at Ignite Waterloo. Most of them went pretty well, some of the very well. Again, I made a point of doing fewer comics industry events and more broad, publishing industry events, which seems to be where my work has the most appeal and is best known. But I think the big news in comics-related events this year was Tr!ckster, which I wasn’t part of but loved. It’s my kind of event, the perfect antidote to the three-ringed corporate circus that is Comic-Con.

What do you have coming up in 2012? (If you can’t say, then maybe hint at when we may find out)

I’m finishing up the third Three Thieves book, THE CAPTIVE PRINCE, which should be out next fall. At some point in the year LaPasteque should have their French edition of TWO GENERALS out, and there will also be a TWO GENERALS e-book released.

Any final comments on 2011?

If it were a woman I’d marry it, take it nice places, and fill it up with babies.

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